A kazooie from the ashes and a law suit

So here is some recent-ish news (news that I have come across recently). Sometime ago I posted about backing a 5 v 1 survival horror game called Last Year (which was successfully funded from memory). The reason I can’t clarify whether it was funded or not is because if you visit the Kickstarter page at the moment, you will see big black writing reading:

Last Year – 5 vs 1 Multiplayer Survival Horror is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.”

On Friday the 13th of February, the backers of this game received an email letting us know that the game was currently suffering from an intellectual property (IP) dispute imposed by the current owners of Friday the 13th, .  Crystal Lake Entertainment. Despite this, the game was still in production and in the event of it being cancelled, everyone would get their money back.

Two days later we received an email saying that the dispute has been resolved, thanks for support and that people shouldn’t have sent abusive emails to the lawyers.

The developers of Last Year noted two interesting things.

  1. Crystal Lake Entertainment took the key words, “…inspired by Friday the 13th” and rolled with it, the scent of money clearly on the wind. They created loose links between the Friday the 13th brand and Last Year hoping to squeeze out what they could.
  2. While the above is definitely true, there were definitely some aspects of Last Year that were toeing the very-thin line. The poster had a knife-wielding, hockey mask-wearing serial killer chasing teens at a camp… maybe a little more than inspired.

Anyway, that’s not so much news as it is “olds” now. You might also noticed me being terrible clever by including “Kazooie from the Ashes” in the title. I’m referring to the creation of PlaytonicGames, an indie studio consisting of six or seven guys who used to work for Rare. Though the word work may be an understatement as they are all veterans of industry with having positions within Rare such as lead engineer, lead character artist and lead background artist.

Am I excited that at some point in the future there will be a game like Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Jet Force Gemini or Perfect Dark? Somewhat excited about that. I don’t believe in producing games for the sake of nostalgia. But I do believe in taking aspects of what made the old game great and producing modern masterpieces out of it (OK, clearly I am really excited as I’m getting all flowery).


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